FL GOP operative says $10K gamble 'not a good moment for Mitt Romney'
Even some Florida Republicans are beginning to pile onto Romney’s $10k gamble gaffe in Saturday’s Iowa debate. From Politico, “’The $10,000 bet thing doesn’t play to the entrepreneurial job creator narrative, it plays to the arrogant rich guy narrative,’ said Rick Wilson, a Florida GOP operative who worked for Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 campaign. ‘That was not a good moment for Mitt Romney.’”
Meanwhile, the DNC is turning up the heat on Romney’s debate blunder with a new video: “MITT ROMNEY: Simply out of touch - Ten Thousand Times Over”
Politico: Romney's $10k gamble
By: Reid J. Epstein
December 11, 2011 12:37 AM EST
If Mitt Romney had said $10 or a $1 million, the line might have flown right by, but offering Rick Perry a $10,000 bet on stage at Saturday night’s debate gave his opponents a perfect new way to cast him as an out-of-touch rich guy.
There wasn’t much interest in the fact that Romney would probably have won the money from Perry on the dispute over whether Romney ever expressed support for a national individual mandate for health insurance like the one included in the Massachusetts health care plan Romney championed.
The focus was on the sum, and the avenue it gave both Romney’s Republican rivals and Democrats into what’s one of his main vulnerabilities: He grew up rich and got richer, often at the expense of closing down businesses through his work at Bain Capital.
Perry didn’t engage with the ploy on stage at the ABC News/Yahoo! debate in Des Moines — “I’m not in the betting business,” he said — but that didn’t stop the pile-on.
Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse tweeted shortly after Romney delivered the prepared line, “He’s going to own that $10,000 bet line. Nothing else he has said in this debate matters.”
Meanwhile, Jon Huntsman’s campaign announced it purchased the domain name 10kbet.com and the DNC-launched hashtag #what10kbuys was trending on Twitter within 15 minutes of the debate’s finish.
And Redstate blogger Erick Erickson tweeted that Romney was shoving his wealth in the face of Perry, who famously grew up poor in Paint Creek, Texas. “Offering to bet $10k a guy who grew up on a farm with no indoor plumbing & whose wife works to help pay for the kids college is low class,” he wrote.
The line also opened Romney up to questions about his faith, which have circulated around his candidacy. Even before the debate was done, the Des Moines Register noted thatgambling is officially forbidden by the Mormon church — which Romney brought up for the first time during this campaign’s debates, mentioning his past as a pastor for it.
“The $10,000 bet thing doesn’t play to the entrepreneurial job creator narrative, it plays to the arrogant rich guy narrative,” said Rick Wilson, a Florida GOP operative who worked for Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 campaign. “That was not a good moment for Mitt Romney.”
ABC correspondent Jake Tapper noted after the debate how Romney’s bet, while safe, left him looking out of touch.
“The bigger issue, I think, was the fact that Mitt Romney was trying to wager a $10,000 bet in a debate in Iowa,” Tapper said. “The median income in this country means that $10,000 is roughly three months income. Even though he was just joking around, I think that probably did not help him. Even if he won the letter of the bet, by making the bet … he probably lost the bet.”
Romney’s campaign didn’t seem to think so.
Romney senior advisor Eric Fehrnstrom crowed on Twitter that Perry backed down when Romney offered the bet and the Romney campaign blasted a release to reporters headlined “Why Rick Perry Didn’t Take The Bet” – which in its second half attacked Newt Gingrich for supporting an individual mandate.
“I loved that,” Romney senior strategist Stuart Stevens said in the post-debate spin room. “It’s a very human thing to sort of finally try to get some guy to shut up who knows he’s not telling the truth. And guess what? It worked.”
Maggie Haberman contributed to this report